James Gustave Speth to Deliver 2013 UMass Boston Commencement Address

Office of Communications | April 25, 2013
James Gustave “Gus” Speth

James Gustave “Gus” Speth

Chancellor J. Keith Motley has announced that James Gustave “Gus” Speth, co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council and the World Resources Institute, will deliver the principal address at the University of Massachusetts Boston’s 45th commencement ceremonies on Friday, May 31, 2013.

Speth has served as an advisor on conservation for Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.

“Dr. Speth has advocated for our planet and its most vulnerable populations for many years,” Chancellor Motley said. “I believe that he will have a lot to communicate to our students about their roles in the fight against climate change, and that they will take hope and inspiration from his words.”

Speth joins honorary degree recipients Jack Dangermond, the president and founder of Esri; and Tererai Trent, founder of the Tinogona Foundation.

More than 3,600 graduates and their families are expected to fill the Campus Center Circle Lawn for the 9:30 a.m. commencement ceremony.

The following medals and degrees will be awarded:

James Gustave “Gus” Speth, Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa
Speth has held multiple roles in the United Nations, working to protect Earth and its people from the effects of climate change. He was one of the first policymakers to link the environmental movement to movements against global poverty and for economic empowerment, creating holistic strategies for healing the Earth while promoting the sustainable progress of its people. For ten years, he headed the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and is currently a professor of law at the Vermont School of Law. Speth most recently wrote the book America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy, a guide to political, environmental, economic, and electoral revitalization for the United States.

Jack Dangermond, Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa

Dangermond is a pioneer in the field of geographic information systems, mapping software that matches data sets to physical locations. In 1969 he launched his highly successful company Esri with his wife, building it steadily into what is now the fourth largest privately held software company in the world. In that time, Esri has helped one million users in government, NGOs, academia, and industries such as healthcare, transportation, telecommunications, homeland security, retail, and agriculture target services to populations with its data maps.

Tererai Trent, Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa
Trent is a testament to the power and importance of education for all. Denied schooling as a girl in Zimbabwe, Trent yearned for the chance to earn a doctorate in the United States. She now has her PhD in interdisciplinary evaluation, and has served as a professional evaluator of international development programs and policies for nearly 20 years. In partnership with The Oprah Winfrey Foundation and Save the Children, Trent is building a new school and improving learning for nearly 4,000 children in Zimbabwe.

About UMass Boston
With a growing reputation for innovative research addressing complex issues, the University of Massachusetts Boston, metropolitan Boston’s only public university, offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s nine colleges and graduate schools serve nearly 16,000 students while engaging local, national, and international constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service activities. To learn more about UMass Boston, visit www.umb.edu.

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